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ex HARALD JARL ::: ex ANDREA ::: SERENISSIMA :::

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    The quay and streets were drenched from the earlier downpours of rain I had, surprisingly, only encountered from a dry distance out on deck.











    Only now is it time for breakfast! So I'll save the rest of the day for the next installment.

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      So wonderful those mornings up on the bow of the ship - I can clearly remember those as the most inspiring times of any cruise. From my own time sailing around the world, arrivals and the hours prior to arrival was always the best time of the day.

      Before I got to the position of Safety Officer, as a Navigation- and/or First Officer, the 4-8 watch was the watch nobody wanted but I always loved. By far, that was the bridge watch I have stood the most in my career. Great memories.

      Ah, the food on board appears to be so delicious! Food is an integral part of any cruise and I don't think that is a let-down on board the Serenissima!

      So thrilled to see the venerable veteran is still going strong around the Mediterranean.!
      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
      Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

      Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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        The weather turned bright and sunny during the morning excursion to Taormina (although not clear enough to see Etna from the Roman Theatre!). D enjoyed the morning, but seemed content to take my option to return to Messina and the ship for lunch.






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          I could happily spend several days in Messina myself, but with D tagging along, I wasn't sure what best to suggest for free time that afternoon. The ship was moored very close to the cathedral square, so that was a good start, especially as restoration work had been taking place at the cathedral on my previous visit. Then I saw one of those 'tourist train' things waiting in the square, a perfect excursion for D. It took a pleasant and interesting route around the city streets, just the right amount of informative commentary, and stopped for some time high up at the Temple of Christ the King where there is a terrace with panoramic views. From up there our little Serenissima was hidden with only her mast peeping above nearly buildings, but we could hardly miss seeing she had the company of a bigger cruise ship. I later included AIDAstella on a photo from the quay!




          The kind of photo I like to have the opportunity of taking, showing Serenissima, unmistakably in Messina with the fort San Salvatore across the harbour.


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            The weather was now so pleasantly warm and settled that preparations were being made on the aft deck for an outdoor barbeque that evening.



            Tables were already set out up the stairs in the covered area on deck 6.



            Soon it is time to eat! I first had some fish with salad things, before heading for the barbequed meat station serving pork ribs, chicken etc.

            In this view looking down from deck 6 it does seem to be very popular, but I expect you have also noticed some desserts to follow!.






            Afterwards they also opened the bar on the foredeck.

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              Later I went a walk-around, and saw we would soon be leaving...

              ...so got in a position to watch the departure.




              The ship slipped away quietly, and the pilot boar saw us safely out of the harbour.



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                I want to end this day in Messina with a photo I took from the ship looking across the harbour to where the fort was illuminated. And leave with a translation of the words at the base of the column:-
                We bless you and your city”.

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                  Thank you for sharing your photos with us.You deliver beautiful pictures as always.
                  Best wishes from
                  Bengt Domben

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                    What an amazing evening - either having a wonderful dinner at the flag-deck aft, or having one of those cool Corona's on the foredeck!

                    Few ship beats the atmosphere and history of this ship! Serenissima forever!
                    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                      Day 8 - 7th October 2017 - Syracuse, Sicily, Italy.

                      Another early morning out on deck, and it is just beginning to get light.




                      Here comes the sun...




                      ...and here comes the pilot boat. It looks quite sturdy and chunky and I remember thinking I'd have liked a little toy boat just like that when I was young to guide my little sailboat the "Seagull" safely into port!

                      Then I watched the pilot ascend the ladder-structure, and he's just about to make a jump.







                      It is that time of day before breakfast but with preparation done, when, approaching a port, the crew are sometimes out on deck 4 with their mobile phones. I always smile encouragingly in a thumbs-up sort of way, so it's big smiles all round. They are very used to seeing me about at this hour. Indeed if they don't you can be sure that some concerned person will find me later to ask "What happened to you this morning?"

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                        I relocate forward and enjoy the approach to the harbour.




                        The other small ship is Maltese-flagged Variety Voyager. She is moored where Serenissima was on my first cruise here, although on that occasion the ship was port alongside, giving me a memorable view of a dramatic thunderstorm from my starboard single cabin 424.




                        I had the impression earlier that this guy was new to the ship, but now he seems to have got the hang of the docking procedures.



                        I absolutely love this image of Serenissima's foredeck. What a delight and privilege it is to be able to watch the everyday work of the crew at close quarters from the observation platform.

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                          So eventually I go to breakfast, and I've taken a rather different photo in the dining room. D was excited to find a box of his favourite Frosties among the individual cereals, although I didn't see any before or since. (I go for the natural yoghurt or the porridge myself.)

                          D had also been keen to snap up the remaining books that our brilliant guest lecturer David Price Williams had with him, and get them autographed. I'm not so sure D has got around to actually reading "Looking for Aphrodite" and "Gazing upon Sheba's Breasts" yet, but as I had noticed that the lecturer had written "to David and Cecilia …" I think it's my turn by now (if I can find in which pile of books and magazines they've ended up!)




                          Archaeology also figured in the first part of the morning excursion to the Syracuse Archaeological Park, as did geology too in the old limestone quarries, including a visit to the limestone cave known as the Ear of Dionysus. The buses then returned to the ship for a 'comfort stop' prior to a walking tour of the old town, which is actually an island called Ortygia




                          I took these photos of the ships as we set off on the waking tour.




                          After the guided tour there was ample free time to look around and wander back to the ship.
                          Although I am just including photos of and from the ship for these recent cruises, I can't resist including this image that I somehow managed to take from near the entrance of the cathedral amid all the comings and goings at the end of a very Sicilian wedding!


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                            Now I'm wandering back towards the ship and here are some views looking across to Serenissima from Ortygia.






                            This view shows the impressive building of the Guardia Costiera.

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                              That kitchen crew had been shopping! At lunch I started with the melon with local ham, before heading for the specials from a huge pasta station with all manner of things to add or get individually cooked with it. I so enjoyed my favourite clams, Spaghetti Vongole, with a few extra additions!



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                                Serenissima was set to sail that afternoon for the 262 nautical miles to the Greek island of Kefalonia. Looking at the route on a map together with the weather stuff that D was receiving, I was thinking WIND, knowing too how the eastern Mediterranean generally delivers some excitement at this time of year!

                                D watched me dubiously as I moved all my belongings in the cabin down to floor level.

                                My very strong suggestion he should at least move his computer stuff from the top of the tall cabinet met with stiff opposition verging on major tantrum, but with perfect timing the Captain's voice came over the PA system with an announcement that some rough seas were to be expected, unavoidably due to the direction we had to travel in conjunction with the wind direction.
                                Taking my camera with me, I left D to sort his things out in the cabin!

                                One by one, various activities scheduled for the rest of the at-sea-afternoon were cancelled. Not only those out on deck but indoors too, including a lecture about the Emperor Hadrian as World Traveller. Soon there were fewer and fewer guests around the public areas.
                                But it was far from being the roughest conditions Serenissima and I have met in the Mediterranean. That surely has to be in October 2014 with ports closed as the 'remnants' of a hurricane caused havoc not only at sea but on land too as it reached Europe. That was world weather; this was just the Mediterranean being itself.

                                It was dramatic seas but without the rain or the threatening darkness of storm clouds, that I was enjoying so much that afternoon. The clouds were just enough to add light and shade to the seascape, the sky was blue, the sunlight sparkled on the waves.

                                Here to end with are just three of the many photo memories I have of that day.









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